Comment 27576

By Bob Bratina (anonymous) | Posted November 29, 2008 at 00:27:55

There is another option regarding a City Hall option with a "presence" which you'll be hearing about. As far as public space you have to realize that the City Hall forecourt has never been a great gathering place. The Christmas Carol Singalongs Mayor Morrow tried to promote, the New Years parties, the Tiger Cat rallies, all pretty much flopped. The biggest real crowd was an anti-Red Hill rally which drew over a thousand people. There was a Grey Cup parade in 1999 that was pretty good, but Hamiltonians are not drawn to that space, never have and never will. It just doesn't work. No, City workers will not trek to the Jackson Square-Gore area. They never have, so what would prompt them to do so in future. It's an ivory tower at which staff arrive at the rear parking lot, bring their baloney sandwiches or eat a tax-payer subsidized cheap lunch, and go home, never to be seen by downtown mortals, restaurants or shops. If you lived and worked in the Core you'd understand the reality of it.

Although I have another candidate for the formal seat of municipal government, I would say that the Eaton Centre is a well-constructed adaptable building which might be an excellent candidate for an architectural redesign. The site would be much improved by removing a large rectangle of Jackson square at King and James that includes the small office building on the second level. That would create a public plaza allowing for an entrance-way from King and James to the "City Hall". Since LRT will be intersecting at that point we could also design a terminal facility, using the newly created public space. So you would solve many problems with just a little creativity. All of this is affordable. The $75 million and counting to do City Hall over has to include another $10 million for the fore-court and you would still have a less-convenient transit destination than what I propose. Whatever the case, the current plans are unaffordable, and unsustainable. Now is the time for vision and creativity on a blank sheet of paper. The two large parcels of valuable land at City Hall and the Education Centre could easily generate the taxes that will pay for a Downtown where people will want to live work and shop. For me they now only symbolize the failed dream of "urban renewal"

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